Who Needs a Drink?

Depending on which way the cookie crumbled for you last night with the election, you could either use a drink in celebration or in sorrow. This article from Green America suggests that you make it organic!

Photo from Green Earth Cafe & Bakery

Organic Beer and Wine

If you consume alcoholic beverages, try organic beer or wine. They’re better for your health and the planet, and they taste good, too.

Historian Gregg Smith writes that fermented beverages have been nourishing body and enlivening spirit since the very dawn of civilization, dating at least as far back as when the ancient Mesopotamians began storing away “liquid bread” for later use. If you already consume alcoholic drinks, consider buying organic beer or wine for your social engagements and celebrations. There’s a growing number of refreshing offerings from the vine, the grain, and the orchard that contribute to restoring the environment, empowering workers, and protecting your health. Not only are organic beer and wine better for your body, but you may find they taste better than their non-organic counterparts, too.

Why Go Organic?

Choosing organic beverages means that the grapes, barley, hops, apples, and other ingredients used to make your fermented refreshment are spared the application of toxic insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers. These unhealthy chemical inputs pollute our water, air, and soil. Researchers at Cornell University estimate that at least 67 million birds die each year from pesticides sprayed on US fields. The number of fish killed is conservatively estimated at six to 14 million. And, many pesticides are toxic to humans, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Not only does chemically intensive farming devastate ecosystems and harm human populations, it also contributes to the crisis in family-owned farms. The US lost an estimated 650,000 family farms in the last decade. Organic farming, on the other hand, is proving to be small-farmer friendly-most organic farms are less than 100 acres.

Chemical-free organic drinks often taste better, too. Just ask Andrew Myers, dining room manager at Washington, DC’s Restaurant Nora, America’s first certified organic restaurant. “I recommend organic wines and beers to our customers because of their excellent quality, not just because it’s the right thing to do,” says Myers.

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Big (Green) Deal: Farmhopping

 

Originally published at GOOD:

Farmhopping Brings the Power of Crowdfunding to the Countryside

Farming is a creative practice with a final product more spectacular than anything manmade: fresh produce, delicious meat, fragrant flowers, and a well cared for landscape. So in the social media age, when people are willing to donate money in support of a stranger’s creativity through platforms like Kickstarter, it makes sense to try to extend that generosity to the world of agriculture, allowing people to give to small farms whose missions they support.

Enter Farmhopping, a website launching next month that intends to create a new framework for financing small-scale farming by connecting farms with backers who pay a small sum to invest in a farm for rewards, like shipments of cheese, and a say in how the farm is managed. In its use of technology in support of foodie-ism, Farmhopping sounds positively Californian, but the surprising part of the project has less to do with its concept and more to do with its home-base of Bulgaria, a country not exactly known for its startup scene.

Farmhopping is the brainchild of recent business school graduate Rossi Mitova, a 25-year-old extreme skier and self-proclaimed “city girl” who only recently fell for the charms of the countryside. “A friend of mine bought some animals on a farm in Bulgaria and started taking care of them,” she tells me. “We started visiting the farm and getting freshmade yogurt and milking the animals and stuff.”

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Big (Green) Deal: National Grid’s Small Business Program

I recently blogged about how a flower shop could go green, but my boss was apparently already ahead of me, thanks to the Small Business Program from National Grid. When I came back from Christmas break, every light bulb/fixture in the store had been switched to an energy-efficient model – some of the bulbs are supposed to last 10 years! And the best part? National Grid pays for most of the initial install.

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